Best Solar Panels to Buy for Big Island Weather
The Solar Of Hawaii Island, also known as “The Big Island,” is the largest of the island chain. As self-explanatory as it is stunning, the Big Island Solar boasts some of Hawaii’s most varying landscape. Unique in its encompassing 12 separate solar zones, visitors here will marvel at the dramatically different temperatures and scenic beauty that span across each distinct area, ranging from the solar warmth found amid balmy coastal jungles in Puna to the snowcapped peaks dotting the slopes of Mauna Kea. Beach goers get their fill of solar and sand at any of the five star resorts located along the Big Island’s coast and within the resort area of Waikoloa, while those seeking a more quiet, casual experience will adore Hilo, a sleepy little bayside town speckled with small mom-and-pop shops. Also visit to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The island of Hawaii is the youngest and largest island in the Solar Hawaiian chain. Nearly twice as big as all of the other Hawaiian Island solar combined (hence, its nickname, “Big Island Solar”), its sheer size is awe-inspiring. You can travel through all but four of the world’s different solar climate zones here, ranging from Wet Tropical to Polar Tundra, a result of the shielding effect and elevations of the massive volcanoes Maunakea and Maunaloa. From the many geological features at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the snow-capped heights of Maunakea; from the lush valleys of the Hilo and the Big Island’s Hamakua Coasts to the jet-black sands of Punaluu Beach, the island of Hawaii is an unrivaled expression of the power of nature. However you decide to experience the island solar, it is sure to leave you humbled! Check out the island of Hawaii’s regions to explore this vast island.
Best Solar Panel Manufacturers
Here is our shortlist of the best quality and most reliable panel manufacturers on the Australian market based on company history, quality, real-world performance, warrant conditions, service, and feedback from solar industry professionals. This list is generally applicable to most regions with established solar industries including Europe, Africa and Asia.
However, the US solar market is quite unique with several high-end brands such as Silfab Solar, Solaria, Misson Solar and of course Tesla, who are generally focused on supplying the growing North American market. Panasonic is another premium brand offering high-performance panels in the US and Japan.
|Make||Leading Model *||Cell type *||Max Efficiency *||Product Warranty **||Warranty after 25yrs**|
|LG Energy||Neon R||N-type IBC||22.0%||25 years||Min 90.8% output Wp|
|SunPower||Maxeon 3||N-type IBC||22.6%||25 years||Min 92.0% output Wp|
|REC||Alpha||N-type HJT MBB||21.7%||20 years||Min 92.0% output Wp|
|Qcells||QPeak DUO G9+||P-type Half-cut MBB||20.8%||25 years||Min 86% output Wp|
|Winaico||WST-375MG||P-type Half-cut MBB||20.6%||25 years||Min 85.3% output Wp|
* Leading and most efficient module currently offered by the manufacturer
** Maximum product warranty period – May vary by country or region
Tindo Solar is currently the only Australian solar panel manufacture and is highly regarded by installers and customers alike. However, the limited production volume means they can be difficult to source outside South Australia.
Best Value solar panel manufacturers
Based on feedback from solar professionals, below is our list of the best ‘value’ solar panel manufacturers available in Australia. With a long history in research and development, Trina Solar, Jinko Solar and Canadian Solar are some of the oldest and best-known manufacturers, while LONGi Solar has more recently become the worlds largest manufacturer of monocrystalline cells by volume.
LG is regarded as one of the world’s leading manufacturer’s with a premium range of quality, reliable, high-performance panels. LG is one of a few manufacturers offering both a 25-year product and 25-year performance warranty on the Neon 2 and Neon R panels, which both utilise high grade, long-lasting, N-type silicon cells.
LG’s range of premium panels are very popular in Australia, the USA and Europe and incorporate many industry-leading technologies. The LG Neon 2 panels were the first to use multi-wire busbars together with high-performance N-type cells and are one of the most popular high-end panels available in Australia.
Power rating (W): 350W – 450W
Efficiency (%): 19.3 – 22.0%
Price range: Med – High $$$$
See the detailed LG solar panel review.
Sunpower, now known as Maxeon Solar, is a world leader in high-efficiency IBC solar cells and offer an industry-leading performance warranty of 92% retained capacity after 25 years, plus a 25-year manufacturers product warranty.
The Maxeon series panels use the high-performance IBC N-type cells which are the most efficient solar PV cell technology available today. Although, they do come at a premium price and are not widely used in Australia. The more cost-effective Performance or P series panels from SunPower are popular for both residential and larger scale commercial installations. In North America, Sunpower panels are very popular and one of the most trusted brands available.
Power rating (W): 340W – 550W
Efficiency (%): 19 – 22.8%
Price range: Med – Very High $$$$$
See the detailed SunPower solar panel review.
REC manufactures high quality, cost-effective panels which have proven to be very popular among installers, in particular the TwinPeak range. As of 2019 all REC TwinPeak and N-peak panels come with a standard 20-year product warranty and improved performance warranty with reduced degradation making it one of the best warranties on the market.
The REC TwinPeak panels were the first to use half-cut cells in the split module format providing higher efficiency and improved shade tolerance. The N-Peak series panels and recently released Alpha series panels utilising advanced N-type Heterojunction (HJT) half-cut cells, now position REC among the industry-leading manufacturers in high performance solar.
Power rating* (W): 300W – 380W
Efficiency (%): 18 – 21.7%
Price range: Med – High $$$
See the detailed REC solar panel review.
Hanwha Q Cells is a well known, high volume panel manufacturer offering a wide range of quality panels for all applications. The latest Q cells G6+ Duo panels are backed by a new 25-year product warranty and improved long term performance warranty with 85% rated output after 25 years.
Q cells offer a very wide range of panels from entry-level standard 60 cell panels using reliable monocrystalline cells, to highly efficient half-cut mono PERC cells used on the Q.Peak Duo G5 and G6 range, and more recently the advanced Q.Peak DUO G8 and G9+ range featuring the latest innovations including zero-gap cells with 12 microwire busbars.
Power rating (W): 325W – 460W
Efficiency (%): 18.8 – 20.8%
Price range: Med $$$
Winaico is a relatively small volume manufacturer offering a premium range of high-quality panels which are reasonably priced. Winaico panels now come with a 25-year manufacturers warranty and are well regarded and trusted by installers. They also have a good track record for long term reliability and performance in the harsh Australian conditions.
Winaico’s attention to detail, high strength frame designs and great service also put them ahead of most other manufacturers. The next generation GEMINI series are available in power ratings up to 375W panels and feature high-efficiency mono PERC half-cut cells .
Power rating (W): 310W – 375W
Efficiency (%): 18.8 – 20.6%
Price range: Med – High $$$
See the detailed Winaico solar panel review.
Aleo is a high-end German manufacturer offering a premium range of high-quality panels backed by a 25-year manufacturer and performance warranty. The highly regarded company was established in 2001 and is one of very few remaining European solar panel manufacturers.
Aleo’s strengths are not in extremely high efficiency but attention to detail, high quality, reliability and great service. The monocrystalline HE Tec series are available in power ratings up to 345W panels and feature high-performance mono PERC cells in a traditional 60 cell format.
Power rating* (W): 300W – 345W
Efficiency (%): 18.0 – 19.6%
Price range: High $$$$
Performance and durability testing
The many advancements in solar cell technology has lead to huge price reductions over recent years with many new low cost, more efficient solar panels being released by the leading Chinese manufacturers. To ensure ongoing quality there are several leading, independent, testing organisation which help verify long term performance and reliability. This is further explained in our guide to selecting a quality solar panel.
Trina Solar is one of the worlds largest solar panel manufacturers and are investing heavily in low-cost, high-efficiency panels. The well known Trina Honey range of panels are considered great quality and very good value for money, in particular the Honey M (monocrystalline) panels which are now available in the more efficient half-cut 120 cell format up to 370W.
Trina Solar offers a very diverse range of panels from cost-effective mono-crystalline PERC panels to advanced bifacial panels. The latest Vertex and Vertex S (small) series of high-performance panels boosted Trina Solar’s standing as a manufacturer of advanced high-efficiency panels.
Power rating (W): 300W – 660W
Efficiency (%): 17 – 21.1%
Price range: Low – Med $$
See the detailed Trina solar panel review.
JinkoSolar is the largest Chinese solar panel manufacturer by volume and produces a wide range of cost-effective and reliable panels. The Jinko engineers work closely with the Australian UNSW solar research center of excellence and have achieved several efficiency records over the years through their continuous research and development in new PV cell technology.
The Cheetah range (mono) of panels from JinkoSolar is one of the most popular low-cost panels on the market with a great track record for reliability, and good support from local offices. More recently, the powerful Tiger and Tiger Pro series of panels from Jinko has pushed the boundaries of PV cell innovation and technology.
Power rating (W): 280W – 585W
Efficiency (%): 17 – 20.7%
Price range: Low – Med $$
See the detailed JinkoSolar panel review.
Canadian Solar is the fifth largest solar panel manufacturer in the world and produces a wide range of cost-effective, reliable panels. The company generally focused on more cost-effective polycrystalline cells and developed some advanced high-efficiency panels based on the half-cut polycrystalline cell design. However, over recent years, Canadian Solar shifted to developing more efficient mono-PERC cell based panels like the HiDM and powerful HiKu series.
The new-generation HiKu6 range of monocrystalline split-cell panels from Canadian Solar are becoming more popular among installers as a quality, affordable, high-performance panel backed by good support from local offices.
Power rating (W): 295W – 590W
Efficiency (%): 18 – 21.3%
Price range: Low – Med $$
See the detailed Canadian Solar panel review.
LONGi Solar has grown rapidly over the last few years to become not only one of the largest Chinese solar panel manufacturers but the largest monocrystalline cell manufacturer in the world. LONGi produce a wide range of cost-effective and reliable panels which only use monocrystalline cells. In fact, part of the industry shift towards more efficient mono and mono PERC cells was due to the massive investment by LONGi in large scale mono wafer manufacturing.
The Hi-MO 4 mono PERC range of panels from LONGi Solar use the common split-cell format and have become one of the most popular and affordable 370W panels on the market. Additionally, the unique new Gallium-doped silicon cells developed by LONGi are an impressive development proven to improve the lifespan of solar panels.
Power rating (W): 300W – 540W
Efficiency (%): 18 – 21.9%
Price range: Low – Med $$
See the detailed LONGi solar panel review
Most efficient Solar Panels
Popular Solar Panel Models
In addition to the best manufacturers there are a few models which are favorites among our specialists and many Australian installers due to a combination quality, efficiency, performance and value for money. These panels are also proving very popular in the US and much of Europe, in particular the range of modules from Sunpower, REC, LG and Q-cells.
LG NeON 2
LG Neon 2 panels use high efficiency mono N-type cells with advanced rear side absorption technology similar to PERC cells, along with 12 ‘Cello’ thin wire busbars to further improve efficiency and performance. The Neon 2 range, from 335W to 370W power ratings, are covered by a leading 25-year product warranty and an impressive performance warranty of 90% retained capacity after 25 years. LG panels are also built on high-strength frames with very high wind load ratings which make them one of the strongest panels on the market. See full LG solar panel review here.
See the full LG Neon 2 Specification datasheet.
SunPower P19 series
The SunPower Performance series panels have become a popular choice for larger-scale commercial installations due to the high quality and performance. Unlike other SunPower panels which use higher grade, high-cost IBC cells, the P series uses a shingled cell design which is a much more cost-effective design. The shingled cells are more tolerant to partial shading and less prone to micro-cracking which can be an issue with panels using conventional full-size square solar cells. Despite being based on standard P-type silicon, SunPower still offers a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty. See the full SunPower solar panels review here.
See the full Sunpower P19 series specifications datasheet.
REC Alpha Series
REC’s renowned Alpha range of panels incorporate advanced heterojunction (HJT) cell technology in a split-cell format to achieve an impressive 21.7% efficiency at 380W. The half-size cell format, developed by REC, increases efficiency and improves performance, especially in partially shaded conditions. The next-generation Alpha series from REC take the half-cut panel design to the next level utilising advanced N-type HJT silicon cells to create one of the best performing and most-efficient panels available today. See the complete REC solar panels review.
See the full REC Alpha specifications datasheet
Q Cells Q.Peak Duo G6+
Hanwha Q cells, previously known as Q cells, is regaining popularity as a medium to high-end panel option in Australia as the company releases advanced new modules including the advanced Q.Peak Duo G9+ range of modules with micro-wire busbars achieving up to 20.3% efficiency. The current Q.Peak DUO G6 panels, rated up to 355W, have become a popular choice in Australia for those looking for a more affordable panel backed by a 25 product and performance warranty period backed by a well-established manufacture. See the complete Q cells solar panels review.
See the full Q Cells Q.Peak DUO G6+ datasheet.
Jinko Solar Cheetah PLUS
The Cheetah PLUS 370W monocrystalline panels from JinkoSolar are built on the modern 66 cell or 132 split-cell format and have quickly become one of the most popular panels on the market. The modules offer a good combination of quality, efficiency and affordability. The mono PERC cells use the common Passivated Emitter Rear Contact (PERC) technology offering up to 20.15% efficiency and are backed by a standard 12 years manufactures warranty, plus are guaranteed against any excessive degradation caused by PID and LeTiD effects.
See the JinkoSolar Cheetah specification sheet.
Trina Solar Honey M
The new generation Trina Honey M range of panels are a very popular choice in Australia due to the high-performance multi-busbar (MBB) split-cell format which is fast becoming the new industry trend for high-efficiency panels. Trina panels are known for both quality and value for money and are backed very large, well-established manufacturer together and a standard 12-year manufacturers warranty. The latest Honey M split-cell range are available from 350W to 375W, with up to 20.5% efficiency. See full Trina Solar review here.
See the Trina Honey M specification sheet.
Solar Power Questions
See more discussions around the best solar panels in our forum, including: